History of JOHN YOUNG and ABIGAIL HOWE
Taken from the "Life of Brigham Young" by
Gates and Widstoe.... pages 1, 2 and 3.
The Young's were all Massachusetts Pilgrims and Puritans back on both lines to early settlement
of the New England states. John Young was a soldier in "The Revolutionary War and served
under General Washington". Returning from the war he married Abigail (Nabby) Howe. She was
born 3 May - 1766 at Hopkinton, Mass. John Young was born 6 March 1763 at Hopkinton, Mass.
They were married 31 October 1786.
The children born to John and Abigail at Hopkinton were as follows Nancy, Rhoda, John Jr.
Nabby, Susannah, Joseph and Phineas Howe. Like many others at that period he thought to better
his condition by the removal of his already large and rapidly increasing family from Hopkinton
Mass. where his father and grandfather had lived and died, to the southern edge of Vermont in
Windham Co. where a small town, Whittingham, had been established 20 years before.
Here a log house was built and a delicate wife was moved there and soon thereafter her 9th child
and 4th son Brigham was born on June 1 1801. His name Brigham was the surname of his uncle
Phineas Brigham who married his mother's sister Susannah. (Abigail's grandmother was Sibil
Brigham so it was a family name.) Louisa and Lorenzo Dow were born later.
The children all grew to be stalwart and useful men and women and assisted greatly in the
building of the west. The childhood of the Young children were marked by plain living and high
thinking. The daily routine of the family followed the pattern of their Puritan forbearers. The
father was strict to sternness. Brigham has said "It was a word and a blow with my father, but the
blow came first."
To listen to the fiddle, to laugh or shout on the Sabbath Day was a fault unforgiveable. But the
mother's tact and sympathy mellowed the sternness of the father and encircled childish deed and
faults with tender solicitude.
She taught them their letters and gave them what schooling she could. The girls were taught
today's lost art of plain and fancy needlework, candle dipping, rag carpet making, and quilt
piecing, spinning and weaving. Besides these duties were those of baby tending for the older
ones along with chicken feeding and milking. The boys were all busy on the farm or the older
sons were apprenticed out to learn some useful trade.
The diet of these migrating pioneers was that of their condition and inheritance. They invariably
had baked potatoes, plenty of eggs, milk, cheese, Johnny Cake and buttermilk, varied by garden
sass in summer, ginger bread and squash pie and dried beans put into the brick oven on Saturday
night for the Sabbath day dinner so that no cooking and work should mar the sacred peace of that
day. All this made for the health and simplicity of the happy home. In it, all was cleanliness.
Father, Mother, children, all of them loved and made music. The mother was the choir singer in
the Methodist Church where she and her God-fearing husband worshipped.
Parents and children read and studied the scriptures and they were eager students of the primitive
school of their neighborhood during such periods of their almost nomadic life permitted. All of
them inherited easy verbal expressions, a good deal of literary and musical taste with gentle
manners. Some were gay and vivacious and they were very affectionate, generous and cheerful.
The children were taught by the parents to live a strictly moral life. Their mother taught them to
read and their father inculcated a love for the stately prose of the bible. They learned how to
economize as their father and mother had to do it.
Tragedy came to the family the 1 1 June 1815 in the loss of their noble mother in death. Brigham
Young said she had been his mainstay and support and throughout his future years he always
spoke of her with the greatest reverence.
She always taught her children to honor the name of Father and Son and Holy Bible. John Young
died 12 October 1839. They were of Scotch-Irish ancestry and they inherited a keen sense of